The Makeup Brands with Inclusive Foundation Shade Ranges

The beauty industry is making serious strides toward being more inclusive and although it’s happening much later than it really should have, it’s great to see there are brands who are taking it seriously. Whether you’re a part of a minority community or not, it’s these brands that we should be looking out for and making an effort to support.

Foundation is one of the more obvious places to start when looking for inclusivity but it’s important to look beyond the number of shades. The real challenge in supporting diversity isn’t just in offering 40 or 50 different shades of foundation. There are plenty of brands that boast large numbers of shades with the majority of them all a slightly different variation of beige and nothing that caters to black skin tones. When there are plenty of darker options available, it’s not guaranteed they’ll be any good.

Formulating foundation for dark skin tones that don’t become ashy on the skin is a challenge and one that causes a lot of brands to just put their hands up and walk away. Thankfully, there are brands that have developed inclusive shade ranges that mean women and men of any skin tone are likely to find their perfect match.

Here are some of the brands that truly have you covered…


It can be easy to forget a brand like M.A.C because they’ve been offering diversity in their shade range and inclusivity in their marketing since they began. But you shouldn’t sleep on the fact that the cult Studio Fix Fluid is available in 42 shades, all of which look great on the skin.

Fenty Beauty

Rhianna famously launched her Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation with 40 shades and while she wasn’t the first to do it, she was one of the first to use the breadth of shades as a marketing strategy. Her message that it should be the norm created a cascade of brands to follow suit and we have a lot to thank her for when it comes to inclusivity.

Bobbi Brown

Makeup artist Bobbi Brown was an early adopter of inclusivity in foundation shades when she found that she had to mix up her own blends to suit her dark skin clients. She initially created 30 shades of her loved Skin Long-Wear Weightless Foundation with a focus on ensuring the darker shades in the spectrum actually performed. The range was then increased to 42 shades in 2019 with 12 extras being added to fill gaps between colours.


In 2018 Smashbox extended their Studio Skin 24-Hour Wear foundation shade range from just 22 shades to 40 opting to include shades with a variety of undertones and a wider selection of deep and dark shades for women of colour.

Pat McGrath Labs

At 36 shades, the mother of makeup herself, Pat McGrath, may not offer the most shades but it’s the variety of undertones available that sets her Skin Fetish: Sublime Perfection Foundation apart. Each shade varies between peach, pink, yellow, golden, red, olive and neutral undertones.


Tarte was another brand to respond to calls for inclusivity and chose to increase the shade range of the Amazonian Clay Foundation with the introduction of 15 new shades. Ten of those new shades covered the tan to deep shade ranges allowing them to offer more than just a token few darker shades but instead some great choices for darker customers.

Makeup Forever

The cult favourite Ultra HD Foundation from Makeup Forever has long been loved and has proudly offered 40 shades since 2015. Thirteen of those shades are in the deep to dark range alone offering plenty of variety in undertones so you can find a shade that actually compliments your skin instead of covering it.


Maybelline may be a drugstore brand but it doesn’t mean they can’t compete with more expensive luxury brands. In fact, Maybelline have boasted a wide range of shades for years now and expanded the Fit Me! range by an additional 16 shades n 2017 making it 40 in total.

Main image via @adutakech

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